Irving, TX (05/10/21) — The University of Dallas is pleased to welcome Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq, as a special guest and keynote speaker at the 61st annual Spring Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 16, honoring the Class of 2021. This year, UD will award nearly 400 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts, Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry and Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business.
The university’s 2021 Commencement speaker, Archbishop Warda is a leading international voice for the persecuted Christians of Northern Iraq and is the chief administrator of pastoral care and relief services for nearly 20,000 threatened Christian families in the region. He is well known for his wide-ranging support of the Christian refugees in Iraq, and for promoting interreligious dialogue. As part of his efforts to support the continuing Christian presence in Iraq, he founded the Catholic University in Erbil, which was inaugurated in 2015.
He joined Saint Peter’s seminary in Baghdad where he was ordained a priest in 1993. He joined the Redemptorist order of Flanders in Belgium two years later. After receiving his M.A. at the Catholic University of Louvain in 1999, he returned to Iraq. In 2009, the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church elected him for service as a bishop, and he was consecrated in July 2010.
His responsibilities extend far beyond normal peacetime pastoral duties.
Since the ISIS invasion of Mosul and Nineveh in 2014, Archbishop Warda has emerged as a global spokesman for the remaining Christians of Iraq. He regularly appears in broadcasts and interviews in major news outlets throughout the world. In December 2019, he spoke to a global audience at the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Iraqis of all faiths seeking government reform to end corruption and the accompanying violence of religious factions. In 2020, he opened the Maryamana Hospital in Erbil to bring full service modern hospital facilities to the greater region.